Guest Author and Give@way~Cera duBois of the Hunter’s Dagger Series

The Rest of the Story…

Keeping the facts straight when writing a series.

Thank you, Amber, for having today as your guest!

 *Always, thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 *

Whether you are a reader or a writer of fiction, we often fall in love with the secondary characters or the “world” of a story. So much so, that readers often request authors to “finish” the story. This is what happened with the Star Wars universe. If you ask George Lucas, his story ended at the last scene in Episode 6, Return of the Jedi. Sure, he wrote and produced the Prequel which fans either loved or hated, but we (I’m a Star Wars fan) all wanted the rest of the story.

Do Han and Leia marry? Does Luke rebuild the Jedi Order? Does Leia become a Jedi?

Fortunately for us, Mr. Lucas made a business decision that has raked in millions for him, has kept the franchise alive and well and has, for the most part, satisfied us fans. Yes, Han and Leia not only get married, they have a set of twins, Jacen and Jaina and a son, Anakin, all of whom become favorite characters in the series about Luke’s new Jedi Order. And yes, Leia becomes a Jedi, she actually becomes a Master eventually. A lot happens in the Galaxy Far, Far Away beyond that final scene with the Force ghosts of Anakin, Obi-Wan and Yoda watching the Death Star exploding over the forest moon of Endor with the Ewoks playing primitive instruments and Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and the droids rejoicing the end of the Evil Empire.
Yeah, did I mention I’m a fan? But having read this series of books, written by various writers, I’ve seen some of the problems with writing a big series. One of the biggest for me is inconsistencies… But this I can understand in a series as huge and diverse as the Star Wars books. These books aren’t written by George Lucas or even endorsed by him … Oh, he makes money from them and sanctions their plots as part of the Expanded Universe, but these authors are only using his “world” and characters. If he chooses to continue with his personal vision of the story—it will be nothing like what has been written. Something this fan hopes never happens. I love the books!

However, I think if a series is written by one author, within one “world” and with the same set of characters, he or she better get the facts straight. I hate inconsistencies and nothing will throw me out of a story faster than changing the facts late in the game.

So, how does an author prevent this from happening? Because it’s the little things that may and do bug the observant reader. Like the heroine’s sister’s green eyes (in book one) now are blue in book five—with no mention of colored contacts. Or the long lost friend whose name was John and now it’s James—without the benefit of the character changing his name.

We all have seen them, but hopefully we can prevent these with some basic record keeping. For both of my series, The Hunter’s Daggers Series and The Colton Gamblers, I use the Microsoft Office program One Note as a virtual notebook. There’s a lot of writing programs out there, and most of them have features that allow you to save notes, or information within the program. I use One Note simply because I like it and it’s easy to use, if you’re a Microsoft user.

For my series The Hunter’s Daggers, I created a virtual notebook and each book has a section. Within these sections, there are pages. I have a page in each book section for research, character profiles, calendar of events, and general notes. On the research page, I’ll copy/paste entire web pages. This makes life easy when I need to make sure my facts are straight, I simply go to my Notebook and find the article. I don’t have to do another web search. In the character profile page, I note anything I might need to know later—such as physical appearances, and any facts about that character I might need to know later. The calendar should be self-explanatory. On the general notes page, I list anything else I might need to know–like brainstorming sessions; I copy/paste the book info, like the blurb and synopsis; all the links to the files; and important dates, like when I started the book and when I finally finished it.

For example, here’s what the profile for Brad Morris/Austin Calhoun from A Hunter’s Angel and A Hunter’s Blade looks like. This was copied from my One Note page. The things in parentheses and italics I added to clarify things.

Bradley Andrew Morris AKA Austin Calhoun

*Born: August 23, 1979, age 32 at the start of A Hunter’s Angel

*Turned into a Vampire by Shane Chamberlain in January 2011.

*Eyes: Hazel/ After his turn, they glow amber when he drops his glamour.

*Hair: Golden Brown, he wears it sort of like Rob Pattinson in Twilight (LOL… I know, this is just so I can picture it so that I can describe it in the books.)

*Height: 6’2”

*Known for his one-night stands and never committing to a woman.

*His father is sentenced to life in prison when Brad is 3 yrs old after he kills a cop during a robbery of a convenience store. He hasn’t seen his father since.

*Grows up on his grandparents’ ranch in East Texas with his mother and sister Diane, who is a year and half younger than him.

*He marries Samantha Anderson when he is 18 after she gets pregnant with his first son, Brandon. She files for divorce in 2001. She remarried a rancher and lives in Texas with Brandon.

*He joins the Army after high school graduation and becomes an MP and eventually works his way into the CID (Criminal Investigation Division). He deploys to Afghanistan in 2002 and to Iraq in 2003. He ETS’s (this is a military acronym which means he leaves the Army) and joins the FBI in 2005.

*He marries his second wife, Jamie Becker, in 2005 after she becomes pregnant after a short series of one-night stands. They are married for 2 years until he cheats on her and she divorces him. She now lives in New Jersey with their son Matthew…

This goes on for every fact that makes up Brad/Austin’s character. 

So, hopefully I don’t mix up something that is vital to his character. And hopefully you fall as much in love with this ex-soldier-turned-FBI Special Agent-turned vampire vampire hunter as I did when I wrote him in A Hunter’s Angel, and I just had to tell the rest of his story.

A Hunter’s Angel, Book 1 The Hunter’s Dagger Series

The serial killer stalking Clayton, Pennsylvania, isn’t all that has Chief of Police Grace Wallace worried. For a year, she’s tried to forget Special Agent Ian McHenry and now he’s the expert the FBI sent to catch the killer. She can’t stay away from him, but something primal is telling her to run to save much more than just her heart. Despite the strict code of ethics Ian vowed to follow as a vampire hunter, he craves Grace’s blood above all others. If he chooses to stay, Ian risks losing his chance at divine forgiveness. But if he leaves Grace unprotected from the evil he’s hunted for over a century, he loses more than just his soul…

***Here’s a never  before seen excerpt featuring Brad, Ian and Grace***

She looked at him as if she wanted to say something, but Brad interrupted by moving in beside her. Ian hadn’t missed the two of them talking earlier while he waited with Sheryl and the children.

“We’re finishing up. I was thinking of heading back to Clayton for something to eat. I’m starved enough to eat a horse, shoes and all,” Brad said, looking at Grace.

She laughed. “Me, too. But I’ll pass on the shoes, I think.”

The sound shot right though Ian. When was the last time she laughed with me?

His answer came back to him like a double edged sword—the night you almost killed her while making love to her.

Grace brushed a lock of coppery hair from her lightly freckled cheek. Brad watched the action, and Ian sensed his lust. Ian’s jealousy was potent and instant. He fought his darker side and managed to prevent his fangs from descending.

Brad glanced at him, and Ian didn’t need to read his mind to know his intentions. Focused once more on Grace, Brad stepped closer and tilted his head toward her.

Brad was a good two inches taller than Ian. His light brown hair styled in one of the latest disheveled trends and the sun highlighted it with gold. The Texan had that cowboy charm most women easily fell for.

Ian didn’t pay much attention to their conversation. He was too busy fighting the urge to slip into Brad’s mind and make him dance around like a monkey. Maybe have him even scratch his crotch. Wasn’t that what all the Sunday paper cartoons made fun of?

He shook off the crazy notion. Ian didn’t like using his powers on his friends and rarely read Brad’s mind. But Ian couldn’t stop thinking Brad Morris was the last thing Grace needed.

The only thing that prevented him from sending Brad away was his connection with Grace. She wasn’t interested in Brad—now. But given time, would she fall under Brad’s spell as easily as if he had some sort of supernatural power? He had seen his friend charm the pants off more than one woman.

Ian clamped down so hard on his teeth it was amazing he didn’t break them off. The accent, Ian silently accused. He remembered all too well her fascination with his brogue when they’d met a year and a half ago. She’d quizzed him on it until he told her a satisfying story of picking up his Irish parents’ accents.

Brad’s chuckle quickly brought him back to the present. They talked as if Ian wasn’t even there, as if they’d known each other for years. Had they carried on like this last year? Ian couldn’t remember.

She asked, “Hey, you still hungry enough to eat the shoes off a horse?”

Brad smiled broadly. “Yep. What do you say we get out of here?

Available Everywhere E-books are sold:

The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

A Hunter’s Blade, Book 2 of The Hunter’s Dagger Series

 Brigit Wolfe, a born werewolf, hasn’t killed a human in over a hundred years, although now, she wonders if the animal attacking people in Silver Creek, Colorado, isn’t her. But she might have bigger problems when her cowboy neighbor, Austin Calhoun, ambles into her bar. Austin hasn’t been a vampire for long, but he is determined to prove to himself that he’s worthy of his hunter’s dagger. Brigit’s rare beauty and blade-sharp tongue enchants him. She ignites a passion he thought was dead, but is she the killer his master sent him to destroy? During Austin’s investigation regarding Brigit’s involvement in the deaths, an old crime surfaces connected to her human best friend. These two immortal enemies have to join forces to solve the mystery before someone else dies. But can they survive the heat of their own desire?

***Excerpt***

“Why don’t you enlighten me?”

She glowered at him for several moments. Then she closed her eyes and spoke in a language he didn’t understand. Before he knew it, a fire sparked to life in the old stone hearth across the room. A second later, he flew out of his chair and shoved hard against the edge of the bar behind him.

He struggled against the invisible restrains, but she’d taken him completely off guard. He was powerless to break free.

Standing, she kicked the chair to the side and stalked toward him. She could kill him right here and now, but…holy hell, she was damned sexy.

She stopped in front of him and growled, “Let’s get something established about werewolves. There are two kinds. The lesser wolves who are made. And the Lykan who are born. I’m not one of the degenerates. I was born a Lykan in 1647. The first child of Valeriu and Elena. I’m an alpha and you are nothing more than a fledgling just hatched.”

He broke free of her power by drawing on his own. When he moved toward her, Austin held his hands to his side, ready to grab the special knife he had sheathed inside his jacket. His fangs had long ago descended ready for a fight. “I don’t really give a flying fuck whether you were made, born, or hatched.”

When the energy of her power touched him again, he pulled the knife, and the silver blade caught the dim light of the fire in the hearth when he opened the long switchblade. “I want to know if you’re the one preying on these people.”

Her eyes widened and she backed up a step as he approached. “I told you I didn’t attack those humans. I haven’t killed a mortal in over a hundred years. How many innocents have you snacked on tonight? How many of them did you want to kill?”

“I don’t hurt my prey,” he said through clenched teeth and held her icy gaze. He’d never let her know battling the beast within every feeding was the hardest thing he’d ever done.

After forcing himself to take a deep breath, he lowered the knife and released some of the tension zinging through his body. “If you didn’t kill those people then you have nothing to worry about. Best way to figure out who did is by working together.” He put the silver blade away, and his fangs retracted.

“What do you have planned?”

He didn’t miss the slight quiver in her voice. He should finish all this right here and now so he could get back to Ireland and whatever life he’d scraped together, but something needled him into doing a thorough investigation.

“We begin with you telling me everything you remember from those nights you became the big, bad wolf.”

Available now at Amazon and everywhere January 2, 2013.

 

Bio:

Cera duBois has a strong belief in never giving up on your dreams…

Although Cera was unable to read due to dyslexia and a learning disability until she was in the fourth grade, she always had a story to tell. She wrote her first novel in eleventh grade when she had to keep a journal for her academic English class. Since her life was far from exciting growing up as a farm girl in West Central Pennsylvania, she decided to rely on her imagination to give her something to write about. Over the course of the school year, she wrote a tangled romance set in the Deep South during the Civil War.  Becoming an author was her ultimate dream. Despite holding a BS in secondary social studies education from Penn State University, she currently works full-time as a medical secretary. A mother of a teenage son and pre-teen daughter, she lives near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband of nearly 20 years. If she isn’t sitting in a quiet corner with her laptop, warm days will find her in the English garden surrounding her house. Cera loves to read and is interested in history, romance, science fiction and the paranormal. She also writes contemporary Westerns under her real name of Sara Walter Ellwood.

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About Amber Kallyn

Amber Kallyn is the author of paranormal erotic romances and urban fantasy.

Posted on October 16, 2012, in Contests, Excerpts, Giveaways, Great Authors, Guest Blogger, Guests, How To, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Jennifer Lowery

    Great interview!! I’ve never used a computer program to keep track of my notes and this sounds awesome! Gonna try it! Book sounds fabulous! Congrats on the release, Cera!! Wishing you many, many sales!!

  2. Hi, Sara. You’re all over the place! Great post.

  3. Loved the blog. I also write a series although I keep my notes on characters, dates and events in an excel file I created. I also list bk # and page # where the “main” event took place so i can go back and reread how much of that event took place. My characters have lived a very long time ((they are over 5k years old) and often look back in time so this is extremely helpful for me.
    virginia@authorvsnelson.com

  4. love your notebook idea, Sara! I do something similar, but I’m soooo stealing some of your tips!

  5. I wondered how you series writers did it. Great post and awesome excerpts.

  6. Cera,

    Thanks for the information on OneNote. I’ve tried it with limited success but plan to use either it or Scrivener as I start a new novel. I think you have start from the beginning for it to really work, and so far, I’ve been backing in my current and finished stories.
    Barbara Barrett

  7. I am sure that it is very difficult to keep up with all the characters in a large series. When you have the hero and heroine, plus many secondary characters in each book, 6, 7, or more books in a series, the characters would have to be like 100 or more. It would be very hard to keep up with all of them, their description, biographies, etc. This would be a great way of doing it.
    Thanks so much for the post and the excerpt 🙂

  8. forgot my email:
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

  9. I always forget about One Note! I have a series bible I keep and refer to while writing. Really makes life so much easier. Great Post!!

  10. I use Excel spreadsheets to keep all my characters straight. And I love, love, LOVE One Note. My biggest sadness was when I transferred to a Mac. Mac doesn’t support One Note but they do have a similar app called Growly that I use.

  11. Great job, Sara. Lots of excellent info there!

  12. Awesome post! That’s actually quite useful advice as well. Ha, I have trouble remembering the little things from chapter to chapter. 🙂

  13. Thanks for coming by, everyone… I love writing series and I have two of them going on now. One paranormal which is only three books and since they are shorter, there aren’t as many characters. My Western series, on the other hand, will be six single title length romantic suspenses with a whole town of characters, most of them all related to each other (or will be once they are married). I even have family trees in One Note that go back nine generations for the families in these books.

  14. “My Western series, on the other hand, will be six single title length romantic suspenses with a whole town of characters, most of them all related to each other (or will be once they are married). I even have family trees in One Note that go back nine generations for the families in these books.”

    Sounds interesting 🙂

    Thanks for sharing… Looks interesting

    BeckeyWhiteATgmailDOTcom

  15. Awesome excerpts! Thanks so much for the tip on One Note. I definitely need something better than my “notes on random pieces of paper” system. Great post!

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